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Humanities Council donates $10K to ‘Racism in America’ project


NMI Humanities Council executive director Leo G. Pangelinan, left, awards a $10,000 grant to Ambrose Bennett for his “The Origins & Evolution of Racism in America” project. (Neil Fama)

The Northern Marianas Humanities Council gave out a $10,000 grant to a couple who is spearheading the “Origins & Evolution of Racism in America” project in the CNMI.

Humanities executive director Leo Pangelinan awarded the $10,000 grant last week to former Kagman High School teacher Ambrose Bennett and his wife Lillian Bennett to fund the “Racism in America” project.

Pangelinan said Bennett’s project is timely and relevant not just in the United States, but also throughout the world.

In a press conference, Bennett said the project aims to educate the community regarding racism because racism is still being practiced, intentionally and unintentionally.

“It is clear that racism is still a real problem in America and the world. It must come to an end. We must understand that racism is a learned behavior. Nobody comes in the world a racist. Racism continues to exist because there are young people still being helplessly raised and educated to be racist. We should always use education as our most powerful tool to end racism,” he said.

The Origins & Evolution of Racism in America project will showcase the critically acclaimed 1997 film Amistad and the award-winning 1977 TV mini-series Roots.

Amistad and Roots are full of adventure and drama. People will be fully entertained and will also learn something they didn’t know about how racism evolved and there may even be those who will forever be changed for the better,” Bennett said.

The project consists of a three-day film screening that aims to help people understand racism.

Bennett has been coordinating with Marianas High School in order to use their facilities as the venue of the film festival.

It is tentatively set for Oct. 10-12 at the MHS gym from 2pm to 6pm.

People are advised to come early due to limited seating.

Bennett said he was inspired to launch the project after seeing George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” moment and he told himself that he had to do something.

Floyd was killed back in May while being arrested by a white police officer who knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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